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— S. Patterson Prowse 

Late Librarian of the City of Peoria 



Abraham Lincoln. 


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October 16th, 1854, was a memorable day 
in Peoria. None apprehended it then, and but 
few appreciate it now — seventy years after. 

It was the starting point of the race which 
won for Abraham Lincoln the Presidency of 
the United States — brought on the War of the 
Rebellion — led to the death of a half million 
men and twice that number disabled by dis- 
ease and wounds. Made free men and women 
of four million slaves, and desolated almost 
every home in the land. Four years of human 
sacrifice and suffering. At every fireside heart- 
strings were swept by the fingers of Death. 
From a population of thirty-four million, a 
million and one-half were taken. 

The monument in the Court House square 
bears the names of five hundred and twenty-five 
boys from Peoria, who died between April, 
1861, and April, 1865, and Peoria had then 
less than one-tenth its present population. And 
the starting point of it all was at Peoria, that 
16th day of October, 1854. As the evening 
shadows gather, I wander through the halls of 
memory and behold a picture of those earlier 
days. Peoria — "beautiful view" — for such is 


the meaning of the word in the language of the 
Pottawattomies — only a village — bluffs covered 
with oak and hickory — undergrowth of hazel 
brush and wild blackberry — ravines in which 
the wolf still lingered. At the narrows butter- 
nuts, wild grapes, plums, pecans, persimmons 
and pawpaws. Rope ferries at either end of the 
lake — wild ducks floating upon the river's bos- 
om. Clouds of black birds darkened the skies. 
The honk of the wild geese winging their way 
North or South in endless file the whole day 
long foretold the season's change. Morning and 
evening heard the drumming of partridges, or 
the call of the quail in back yards and streets. 

Political times: the music of bands — of 
drums and fife with drummers and fifers garbed 
in colonial costume — the "Spirit of 76." Cam- 
paign songs — flags mounted on saplings with 
bunches of leaves at the top. Only thirty-four 
stars then. Floats with pretty girls in white 
representing Columbia and the several states. I 
see them at night upon the floor of my home — 
sleeping upon improvised beds upon the floor — 
my mother cooking for all. Not a completed 
railroad in Peoria, October 16th, 1854. No 
telegraph — no sewing machine — no telephone 


— tallow candles for illumination — butter, eggs 
and milk lowered into the cistern to keep fresh. 
And yet all of the comforts and luxury of today 
were born of the brain and brawn of that and 
the succeeding generation. 

Amidst such scenes Lincoln and Douglas 
first met in debate in Peoria, October 16th, 



Drown's Peoria City Record of March 4th, 
1854, gives the following description of Peoria 
at that date: 

"PEORIA IN 1854, though only in her 
35th year, we will venture to say, is the most 
beautiful City in the West, its location is not 
surpassed by any, for the God of Nature in 
his wisdom formed its site so that there never 
was, nor is there any occasion of expending a 
thousand dollars to make every street in the 
whole City passible. Still, our "City Fathers" 
are, and have been for a year or two past, en- 
deavoring to improve upon what God, after he 
had made it "saw that it was good;" but im- 
provement is the order of the day. A few 
years since and most of our river towns now 
swelling into cities, were insignificant hamlets 
with a meagre backwoods population. Many 
of my readers will recall to mind, with a smile 
of satisfied pride the local and business condi- 
tion of our TOWN, when the business was con- 
fined to the barter of hazel nuts and eggs, for 
buttons, beads, powder and shot. Miniature 
stores, based on a capital of a few hundreds, 


consisting mainly of a chest of tea, a sack of 
coffee, a keg of three-picayune James' river to- 
bacco, a barrel of "bald face," and a dozen 
butcher knives. And then again, the "country 
folks," after they had been to "town" and in- 
dulged a little in the "critur," about once a 
week, must have a little more indulgence in 
target demonstrations at a candle by night, or 
at the body of a turkey drawn with chalk on 
an "oak-puncheon." after they had got through 
with "trading" and ready to go home. Such 
like amusements comprised a good part of the 
time and business along our river line of settle- 
ments, which are now matters of memory only 
and thrown far to the rearward in the onward 
march of improvement. Whence the timid 
fawn stood by the margin of the stream or 
lake, feeding on the luxuriant herbage, or view- 
ing its shadow in the limpid wave; or the yell 
of the panther awoke the echoes of the wood — 
the sonorious breathing of steam engines, or the 
more thrilling, loud, long, terrifFic, terrible whis- 
tle of a locomotive is heard, and thriving towns 
and cities stand out in beauty along the shore, 
doing a business of countless thousands in mer- 
chandise and produce. Speaking of a locomo- 
tive and its whistle, it is now beginning to be 


heard in all our continent — we have heard its 
clear shriek in this City for a few months past, 
shouting, "take care! take care!! the iron image 
moves!" What is that image like? Has it 
breath? and what is it? It is like some won- 
derful thing seen in a startling dream, imagined 
to be for some great purpose inexplicable! It 
has breath and arms, hands and feet, and is a 
live metal with a steam soul — here now, and in 
an hour 40, 50 or 60 miles hence, dragging 
after it its weak creator, with its bundles of 
rich substances; and sometimes it takes upon 
its shoulders great palaces full of human life 
and plunges into rivers and lakes and across the 
wide prairies; and wherever it goes it whistles! 
The lips of a thousand human whistles in one 
grand strain united could not raise a note half 
so loud and thrilling as the faintest effort of 
one iron man. Old men when you hear the 
whistle of the iron man of this day, do you 
ever think of the time you whistled to "drive 
off fear," or "drive dull cares away?" — How 
loud you could "sound," how the woods would 
ring and the hills echo with the tunes that 
"come natural." How pleasant you felt whistl- 
ing. You never expected then to hear a big 
piece of iron whistle louder than you could! 


You can hear it now. The iron whistle is every 
man's musician — he is the particular favorite of 
the fast spirit enterprise, and the children of 
trade dance to the melody of his strain, while 
cold eyed speculation smiles, and grim-faced 
avarice laughs aloud when he whistles in the 

(A fac-simile photograph of this four page 
paper will be found on the last pages of this 



Although not six years of age I recall the 
day perfectly. I was a strong "Douglas man" 
— how he would appeal to a boy of that per- 
iod. The "Little Giant" — the foremost states- 
man of the day — arrayed in frock coat and 
black pants, wearing a high silk hat, white 
shirt and collar, with black stock. He came to 
our western village where such things were un- 
known — a being superior and supreme in my 

The Democratic Committee had appointed a 
Committee of sixty to arrange for his reception, 
and had passed the following resolution: 

"Resolved: That the Democracy of Peoria 
County who wish to take part in the public 
reception of Judge Douglas be requested to meet 
at the "Three Mile House" (Potter's), on the 
Farmington road on Monday, the 16th inst., 
at 9 o'clock A. M. All who do so are requested 
to appear on horseback." 

The Peoria Republican of Oct. 19, 1854 
says — 

"Mr. Douglas rode into our city yesterday at 
the head of a triumphal procession, seated in a 


carriage drawn by four beautiful white palfreys 
and preceded by a band of music. Cannon 
boomed in welcome to the distinguished visitor 
and the cheers of his friends resounded through 
our quiet streets. He was waited upon by a 
committee of the faithful and escorted to the 
place of speaking, and the "distinguished chair- 
man" (Washington Cockle) welcomed him to 
Peoria County in a terse and eloquent speech 
in which he seemed to assume that the Judge 
was the great man of the age — the greatest man 
of any age in the past, and greater than any man 
that may flourish in any age in the future." 

In strange contrast was the quiet — undemon- 
strative entry of the tall, lank, homely and awk- 
ward Lincoln whose name and fame was to ring 
through the ages — Child of the Soil — friend of 
the people — the Emancipator of a race. 

Child-like in his faith — 
God-like in his courage — 
Christ-like in his martyrdom. 

The events which led up to this meeting form 
a fascinating page in the history of our coun- 
try and will deserve the attention of the student 
who wishes to familiarize himself with the de- 
velopment of free America as it exists today. 


The immediate cause of the famous Lincoln- 
Douglas debates, of which the Peoria meeting 
was the forerunner, was the Kansas-Nebraska 
bill introduced into the United States Senate 
in January, 1854, by Judge Douglas, which 
became a law May 31st, 1854. 

This bill provided for the creation of two 
vast territories to be called respectively, Kansas 
and Nebraska. The inhabitants were to be al- 
lowed to decide for themselves whether or not 
slavery was to be permitted within their respec- 
tive limits. The passage of this bill created 
sectional rancor and discord. The North saw 
in the measure a scheme to make slavery Na- 
tional, and Southern statesmen confirmed the 
opinion. Robert Toombs of Georgia, who after- 
wards became a member of the Confederate Cab- 
inet, declared he would "yet live to call the 
roll of his slaves on Bunker's Hill." Squatters 
(Immigrants) flocked to Kansas and Nebraska 
from North and South — the one element firm 
to prevent the extension of slavery into these 
sections, the other seeking to create new slave 
territory. This question became known as the 
doctrine of "Squatter Sovereignty." 



The Peoria debate could hardly be called a 
prearranged affair. A short time before the 
Peoria meeting, Judge Douglas had addressed 
the crowd at the State Fair held in Springfield, 
and the Whigs had arranged with Judge Lyman 
Trumble to make reply upon the day follow- 
ing, but be failed to appear, and Mr. Lincoln 
was called upon to fill his place. The Demo- 
crats had arranged a series of meetings for Judge 
Douglas — the first to be held at Peoria, October 
16th. So soon as announcement of these meet- 
ings was made, the Whigs in Peoria got busy 
and an invitation was sent to Mr. Lincoln to 
appear and make answer. This invitation was 
signed by: 

John Hamlin 
A. P. Bartlett 
Lorin G. Pratt 
Dr. Joseph C. Frye 
Charles Ballance 
George C. Bestor 
Hugh W. Reynolds 
Alexander McCoy 
John Dredge 
John D. Arnold 


Jonathan K. Cooper 
George W. McClellan 
Thomas Bryant 
John T. Lindsay 
John A. McCoy 
David D. Irons 
Valentine Dewein 
William A. Herron 
Edward Dickinson 
and John King 

(A facsimile of this invitation is given upon 
another page.) 






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Mr. Lincoln accepted the invitation and it 
was afterwards arranged that Mr. Douglas was 
to speak first — Lincoln to follow, and Douglas 
to close. No limit was set as to time each was 
to occupy. 

The meeting had been advertised as a Doug- 
las meeting. A platform had been erected upon 
the South side of the old Court House, en- 
trance to which was through a window from 
the office of the Circuit Clerk. Judge Douglas 
commenced his speech at half after two and did 
not conclude until after five o'clock. I now 
quote from an account given by the late Dr. 
Robert Boal of Peoria: 

"After he concluded, Mr. Lincoln arose and 
said he had a proposal to make to the audience 
which was, that they go home and get their 
suppers, then come back and he would talk to 
them. As an additional inducement, he said 
that Senator Douglas had the closing speech, and 
if you would like to see him skin me, you had 
better come back. The people had stood for 
nearly three hours in front of the steps of the 
old court house, from which the speakers ad- 
dressed them. They were tired from standing 
so long, but they came back in increased num- 


ber, and with increased interest. At about 7 
o'clock, Mr. Lincoln slowly arose, and, after 
surveying the large audience, commenced his 
speech by saying": 'He thought he could appre- 
ciate an argument, and, at times, believed he 
could make one, but when one denied the set- 
tled and plainest facts of history, you could not 
argue with him; the only thing you could do, 
would be to stop his mouth with a corn cob.' 

"I write this as I recollect it, and I believe I 
have given it substantially as he said it. Sena- 
tor Douglas had an appointment to speak at 
Lacon the next day. The late Judge Silas Ram- 
sey and myself went to Peoria to hear the 
speeches and to induce Mr. Lincoln to go to 
Lacon the next day to answer Senator Douglas. 
He agreed to go. We took him up in a car- 
riage. Senator Douglas went up in the mail 
steamer to Chillicothe, which connected with 
the branch of the Rock Island, which was only 
finished to that point. A number of Peorians 
went up on the boat and took the train to 
Sparland. Among them was the late Judge 
Powell of Peoria. In the conversation which 
took place between the senator and the judge, 
the latter told the senator that Mr. Lincoln was 

Through whose efforts this book was made possible. 


on the way up to Lacon to reply to him. Mr. 
Douglas was surprised to hear it, but said little 
in reply. He did not expect to meet Mr. Lin- 
coln. When we arrived about 1 o'clock at Lacon, 
we found Senator Douglas at the hotel. Mr. 
Lincoln went in to see him, and, after a few 
minutes, came out and told his friends that Mr. 
Douglas said he was sick and worn out, and 
would not speak. Mr. Lincoln with his usual 
magnanimity, said he would not take advantage 
of him and would make no speech. The people 
were greatly disappointed. Nearly half the pop- 
ulation in the county were in town to hear the 
distinguished men. An agreement was made 
between Senator Douglas and Mr. Lincoln that 
both would go home and stop their meetings. 
Mr. Lincoln left soon after the arrangement was 
made. Senator Douglas remained until the next 
day, and left ostensibly for Chicago. I was 
going to Chicago and was with him in the 
omnibus. Between Lacon and Sparland a car- 
riage met us and stopped the omnibus. Senator 
Douglas got out of it, and took his satchel with 
him. I said to him, 'I thought you intended to 
go to Chicago?' 'Yes,' he said, 'but I will catch 
the train at Henry.' Instead of taking the 


train at Henry, he went to Princeton, in Bureau 
county, and made a speech that day which 
Owen Lovejoy answered. In so doing, he vio- 
lated the agreement made with Mr. Lincoln 
and made a remarkably rapid recovery from 
his illness." 




PEORIA, ILL., (OCT. 16, 1854) 



I insist that if there is anything which it is 
the duty of the whole people never to intrust to 
any hands but their own, that thing is the 
preservation and perpetuity of their own liber- 
ties and institutions. And if they shall think, 
as I do, that the extension of slavery endangers 
them more than any or all other causes, how 
recreant to themselves if they submit the ques- 
tion, and with it the fate of their country, to 
a mere handful of men bent only to self-inter- 
est. If this question of slavery extension were 
an insignificant one — one having no power to 
do harm — it might be shuffled aside in this 
way; and being, as it is, the great Behemoth 
of danger, shall the strong grip of the nation 
be loosened upon him, to intrust him to the 
hands of such feeble keepers? 

But Nebraska is urged as a great Union-sav- 
ing measure. Well, I too go for saving the 
Union. Much as I hate slavery, I would con- 
sent to the extension of it rather than see the 


Union dissolved, just as I would consent to any- 
great evil to avoid a greater one. But when I 
go to Union-saving, I must believe, at least, 
that the means I employ have some adaptation 
to the end. To my mind, Nebraska has no 
such adaptation. 

It hath no relish of salvation in it. It is 
an aggravation, rather, of the only one thing 
which ever endangers the Union. When it 
came upon us, all was peace and quiet. The 
nation was looking to the forming of new 
bonds of union, and a long course of peace and 
prosperity seemed to lie before us. In the whole 
range of possibility, there scarcely appears to me 
to have been anything out of which the slavery 
agitation could have been revived, except the 
very project of repealing the Missouri Com- 
promise. Every inch of territory we owned 
already had a definite settlement of the slavery 
question, by which all parties were pledged to 
abide. Indeed, there was no uninhabited coun- 
try on the continent which we could acquire, 
if we except some extreme northern regions 
which are wholly out of the question. 

In this state of affairs the Genius of Discord 
himself could scarcely have invented a way 


of again setting us by the ears but by turning 
back and destroying the peace measures of the 
past. The counsels of that Genius seem to 
have prevailed. The Missouri Compromise 
was repealed; and here we are in the midst of a 
new slavery agitation, such, I think, as we have 
never seen before. Who is responsible for this? 
Is it those who resist the measure, or those who 
causelessly brought it forward and pressed it 
through, having reason to know, and in fact 
knowing, it must and would be so resisted? It 
could not but be expected by its author that it 
would be looked upon as a measure for the ex- 
tension of slavery, aggravated by a gross breach 
of faith. 

Argue as you will and long as you will, this 
is the naked front and aspect of the measure. 
And in this aspect it could not but produce 
agitation. Slavery is founded in the selfishness 
of man's nature — opposition to it in his love of 
justice. These principles are an eternal antag- 
onism, and when brought into collision so 
fiercely as slavery extension brings them, shocks 
and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly fol- 
low. Repeal the Missouri Compromise, repeal 
all compromises, repeal the Declaration of Inde- 


pendence, repeal all past history, you still can- 
not repeal human nature. It still will be the 
abundance of man's heart that slavery exten- 
sion is wrong, and out of the abundance of 
his heart his mouth will continue to speak. 
The structure, too, of the Nebraska bill is very 
peculiar. The people are to decide the ques- 
tion of slavery for themselves; but when they 
are to decide, or how they are to decide, or 
whether, when the question is once decided, it 
is to remain so or is to be subject to an indefi- 
nite succession of new trials, the law does not 
say. Is it to be decided by the first dozen set- 
tlers who arrive there, or is it to await the ar- 
rival of a hundred? Is it to be decided by a 
vote of the people or a vote of the legislature, 
or, indeed, by a vote of any sort? To these 
questions the law gives no answer. There is a 
mystery about this; for when a member pro- 
posed to give the legislature express authority 
to exclude slavery, it was hooted down by the 
friends of the bill. This fact is worth remem- 
bering. Some Yankees in the East are sending 
emigrants to Nebraska to exclude slavery from 
it; and, so far as I can judge, they expect the 
quesion to be decided by voting in some way or 


other. But the Missourians are awake, too. 
They are within a stone's-throw of the contest- 
ed ground. They hold meetings and pass reso- 
lutions, in which not the slightest allusion to 
voting is made. They resolve that slavery al- 
ready exists in the Territory; that more shall 
go there; that they, remaining in Missouri, will 
protect it, and that Abolitionists shall be hung 
or driven away. Through all this bowie- 
knives and six shooters are seen plainly enough, 
but never a glimpse of the ballot-box. 

And, really, what is the result of all this? 
Each party within having numerous and de- 
termined backers without, is it not probable 
that the contest will come to blows and blood- 
shed? Could there be a more apt invention to 
bring about collision and the violence on the 
slavery question than this Nebraska project is? 
I do not charge or believe that such was intend- 
ed by Congress; but if they had literally formed 
a ring and placed champions within it to fight 
out the controversy, the fight could be no more 
likely to come off than it is. And if this fight 
should begin, is it likely to take a very peaceful 
Union-saving turn? Will not the first drop of 
blood so shed be the real knell of the Union? 


The Missouri Compromise ought to be re- 
stored. For the sake of the Union, it ought to 
be restored. We ought to elect a House of 
Representatives which will vote its restoration. 
If by any means we omit to do this, what fol- 
lows? Slavery may or may not be established 
in Nebraska. But whether it be or not, we 
shall have repudiated — discarded from the coun- 
cils of the nation — the spirit of compromise; 
for who, after this, will ever trust in a national 
compromise? The spirit of mutual concession 
— that sipirit which first gave us the Constitu- 
tion, and which has thrice saved the Union — 
we shall have strangled and cast from us for- 
ever. And what shall we have in lieu of it? 
The South flushed with triumph and tempted 
to excess; the North, betrayed as they believe, 
brooding on wrong and burning for revenge. 
One side will provoke, the other resent. The 
one will taunt, the other defy; one aggresses, 
the other retaliates. Already a few in the North 
defy all constitutional restraints, resist the exe- 
cution of the fugitive-slave law, and even 
menace the institution of slavery in the States 
where it exists. Already a few in the South 
claim the constitutional right to take and to 


hold slaves in the free States — demand the re- 
vival of the slave-trade — and demand a treaty 
with Great Britain by which fugitive slaves may 
be reclaimed from Canada. As yet they are 
but few on either side. It is a grave question 
for lovers of the Union, whether the final de- 
struction of the Missouri Compromise, and with 
it the spirit of all compromise, will or will not 
embolden and embitter each of these, and fatal- 
ly increase the number of both. 

But restore the compromise, and what then? 
We thereby restore the national faith, the na- 
tional confidence, the national feeling of broth- 
erhood. We thereby reinstate the spirit of con- 
cession and compromise, that spirit which has 
never failed us in past perils, and which may be 
safely trusted for all the future. The South 
ought to join in doing this. The peace of the 
nation is as dear to them as to us. In memor- 
ies of the past and hopes of the future, they 
share as largely as we. It would be on their 
part a great act — great in its spirit, and great 
in its effects. It would be worth to the nation 
a hundred year's purchase of peace and prosper- 
ity. And what of sacrifice would they make? 
They only surrender to us what they gave us 


for a consideration long, long ago; what they 
have not now asked for, struggled or cared for; 
what has been thrust upon them, not less to 
their astonishment than to ours. 

But it is said we cannot restore it; that 
though we elect every member of the lower 
House, the Senate is still against us. It is quite 
true that of the senators who passed the Ne- 
braska bill, a majority of the whole Senate will 
retain their seats in spite of the elections of this 
and the next year. But if at these elections 
their several constituencies shall clearly express 
their will against Nebraska, will these senators 
disregard their will? Will they neither obey 
nor make room for those who will? 

But even if we fail to technically restore the 
compromise, it is still a great point to carry a 
popular vote in favor of the restoration. The 
moral weight of such a vote cannot be esti- 
mated too highly. The authors of Nebraska are 
not at all satisfied with the destruction of the 
compromise — an indorsement of this principle 
they proclaim to be the great object. With 
them, Nebraska alone is a small matter — to es- 
tablish a principle for future use is what they 
particularly desire. 



The future use is to be the planting of slavery 
wherever in the wide world local and unor- 
ganized opposition cannot prevent it. Now, if 
you wish to give them this indorsement, if you 
wish to establish this principle, do so. I shall 
regret it, but it is your right. On the contrary, 
if you are opposed to the principle, — intend to 
give it no such indorsement, — let no wheedling, 
no sophistry, divert you from throwing a direct 
vote against it. 

Some men, mostly Whigs, who condemn the 
repeal of the Missouri Compromise, nevertheless 
hesitate to go for its restoration, lest they be 
thrown in company with the Abolitionists. 
Will they allow me, as an old Whig, to tell 
them, good-humoredly, that I think this is very 
silly? Stand with anybody that stands right. 
Stand with him while he is right, and part with 
him when he goes wrong. Stand with the Abo- 
litionist in restoring the Missouri Compromise, 
and stand against him when he attempts to 
repeal the fugitive-slave law. In the latter case 
you stand with the Southern disunionist. What 
of that? You are still right. In both cases you 
are right. In both cases you expose the danger- 
ous extremes. In both you stand on middle 


ground, and hold the ship level and steady. In 
both you are national, and nothing less than 
national. This is the good old Whig ground. 
To desert such ground because of any company, 
is to be less than a Whig — less than a man — 
less than an American. 

I particularly object to the new position 
which the avowed principle of this Nebraska 
law gives to slavery in the body politic. I ob- 
ject to it because it assumes that there can be 
moral right in the enslaving of one man by 
another. I object to it as a dangerous dalliance 
for a free people — a sad evidence that, feeling 
prosperity, we forget right; that liberty, as a 
principle, we have ceased to revere. I object 
to it because the fathers of the republic eschewed 
and rejected it. The argument of "necessity" 
was the only argument they ever admitted in 
favor of slavery; and so far, and so far only, as 
it carried them did they ever go. They found 
the institution existing among us, which they 
could not help, and they cast blame upon the 
British king for having permitted its introduc- 
tion. Before the Constitution they prohibited 
its introduction into the Northwestern Terri- 
tory, the only country we owned then free from 


it. At the framing and adoption of the Con- 
stitution, they forbore to so much as mention 
the word "slave" or "slavery" in the whole 
instrument. In the provision for the recovery 
of fugitives, the slave is spoken of as a "per- 
son held to serve or labor." In that prohibiting 
the abolition of the African slave-trade for 
twenty years, that trade is spoken of as "the 
migration or importation of such persons as 
any of the States now existing shall think prop- 
er to admit," etc. These are the only provisions 
alluding to slavery. Thus the thing is hid 
away in the Constitution, just as an afflicted 
man hides away a wen or cancer which he does 
not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death, — 
with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting 
may begin at a certain time. Less than this 
our fathers could not do, and more they would 
not do. Necessity drove them so far, and 
further they would not go. But this is not all. 
The earliest Congress under the Constitution 
took the same view of slavery. They hedged 
and hemmed it in to the narrowest limits of 

In 1794 they prohibited an outgoing slave- 
trade — that is, the taking of slaves from the 


United States to sell. In 1798 they prohibited 
the bringing of slaves from Africa into the Mis- 
sissippi Territory, this Territory then compris- 
ing what are now the States of Mississippi and 
Alabama. This was ten years before they had 
the authority to do the same thing as to the 
States existing at the adoption of the Constitu- 
tion. In 1800 they prohibited American citi- 
zens from trading in slaves between foreign 
countries, as, for instance from Africa to Brazil. 
In 1803 they passed a law in aid of one or two 
slave-State laws, in restraint of the internal 
slave-trade. In 1807, in apparent hot haste, 
they passed the law nearly a year in advance, — 
to take effect the first day of 1808, the very first 
day the Constitution would permit, — prohibit- 
ing the African slave-trade by heavy pecuniary 
and corporal penalties. In 1820, finding these 
provisions ineffectual, they declared the slave- 
trade piracy, and annexed to it the extreme pen- 
alty of death. While all this was passing in the 
General Government, five or six of the original 
slave States had adopted systems of gradual 
emancipation, by which the institution was 
rapidly becoming extinct within their limits. 
Thus we see that the plain, unmistakable spirit 


of that age toward slavery was hostility to the 
principle and toleration only by necessity. 

But now it is to be transformed into a 
"sacred right." Nebraska brings it forth, places 
it on the highroad to extension and perpetuity, 
and with a pat on its back says to it, "Go, and 
God speed you." Henceforth it is to be the 
chief jewel of the nation — the very figurehead 
of the ship of state. Little by little, but steadily 
as man's march to the grave, we have been giv- 
ing up the old for the new faith. Near eighty 
years ago we began by declaring that all men are 
created equal; but now from that beginning 
we have run down to the other declaration, that 
for some men to enslave others is a "sacred 
right of self-government." These principles 
cannot stand together. They are as opposite as 
God and Mammon; and whoever holds to the 
one must despise the other. When Pettit, in 
connection with his support of the Nebraska 
bill, called the Declaration of Independence "a 
self-evident lie," he only did what consistency 
and candor require all other Nebraska men to 
do. Of the forty-odd Nebraska senators who 
sat present and heard him, no one rebuked him. 
Nor am I apprised that any Nebraska news- 


paper, or any Nebraska orator, in the whole na- 
tion has ever yet rebuked him. If this had been 
said among Marion's men, Southerners though 
they were, what would have become of the man 
who said it? If this had been said to the men 
who captured Andre, the man who said it would 
probably have been hung sooner than Andre 
was. If it had been said in old Independence 
Hall seventy-eight years ago, the very doorkeep- 
er would have throttled the man and thrust him 
into the street. Let no one be deceived. The 
spirit of seventy-six and the spirit of Nebraska 
are utter antagonisms; and the former is being 
rapidly displaced by the latter. 

Fellow-countrymen, Americans, South as 
well as North, shall we make no effort to ar- 
rest this? Already the liberty party throughout 
the world express the apprehension "that the 
one retrograde institution in America is un- 
dermining the principles of progress, and fatal- 
ly violating the noblest political system the 
world ever saw." This is not the taunt of 
enemies, but the warning of friends. Is it quite 
safe to disregard it — to despise it? Is there no 
danger to liberty itself in discarding the earliest 
practice and first precept of our ancient faith? 


In our greedy chase to make profit of the negro, 
let us beware lest we "cancel and tear in pieces" 
even the white man's charter of freedom. 

Our republican robe is soiled and trailed in 
the dust. Let us rcpurify it. Let us turn and 
wash it white in the spirit, if not the blood, 
of the Revolution. Let us turn slavery from its 
claims of "moral right" back upon its existing 
legal right and its arguments of "necessity." 
Let us return it to the position our fathers gave 
it, and there let it rest in peace. Let us readopt 
the Declaration of Independence, and with it 
the practices and policy which harmonize with 
it. Let North and South — let all Americans — 
let all lovers of liberty everywhere join in the 
great and good work. If we do this, we shall 
not only have saved the Union, but we shall 
have so saved it as to make and to keep it for- 
ever worthy of the saving. We shall have so 
saved it that the succeeding millions of free 
happy people, the world over, shall rise up and 
call us blessed to the latest generations. 

Ac Springfield, twelve days ago, where I had 
spoken substantially as I have here, Judge Doug- 
las replied to me; and as he is to reply to me 
here, I shall attempt to anticipate him by notic- 


ing some of the points he made there. He com- 
menced by stating I had assumed all the way 
through that the principle of the Nebraska bill 
would have the effect of extending slavery. He 
denied that this was intended, or that this ef- 
fect would follow. 

I will not reopen the argument upon this 
point. That such was the intention the world 
believed at the start, and will continue to be- 
lieve. This was the countenance of the thing, 
and both friends and enemies instantly recog- 
nized it as such. That countenance cannot now 
be changed by argument. You can as easily 
argue the color out of the negro's skin. Like 
the ''bloody hand," you may wash it and wash 
it, the red witness of guilt still sticks and stares 
horribly at you. 

Next he says that congressional intervention 
never prevented slavery anywhere; that it did 
not prevent it in the Northwestern Territory, 
nor in Illinois; that, in fact, Illinois came into 
the Union as a slave State; that the principle of 
the Nebraska bill expelled it from Illinois, from 
several old States, from everywhere. 

Now this is more quibbing all the way 
through. If the ordinance of '87 did not keep 


slavery out of the Northwest Territory, how 
happens it that the northwest shore of the Ohio 
River is entirely free from it, while the south- 
east shore, less than a mile distant, along nearly 
the whole length of the river, is entirely cov- 
ered with it? 

If that ordinance did not keep it out of Illi- 
nois, what was it that made the difference be- 
tween Illinois and Missouri? They lie side by 
side, the Mississippi River only dividing them 
while their early settlements were within the 
same latitude. Between 1810 and 1820, the 
number of slaves in Missouri increased 7211, 
while in Illinois in the same ten years they de- 
creased 51. This appears by the census returns. 
During nearly all of that ten years both were 
Territories, not States. During this time the 
ordinance forbade slavery to go into Illinois, 
and nothing forbade it to go into Missouri. 
It did go into Missouri, and did not go into 
Illinois. That is the fact. Can any one doubt 
as to the reason of it? But he says Illinois 
came into the Union as a slave State. Silence, 
perhaps, would be the best answer to this flat 
contradiction of the known history of the 
country. What are the facts upon which this 


bold assertion is based? When we first acquired 
the country, as far back as 1787, there were 
some slaves within it held by the French inhab- 
itants of Kaskaskia. The territorial legislation 
admitted a few negroes from the slave States 
as indentured servants. One year after the 
adoption of the first State constitution, the 
whole number of them was — what do you 
think? Just one hundred and seventeen, while 
the aggregate free population was 55,094, — 
about four hundred and seventy to one. Upon 
this state of facts the people framed their con- 
stitution prohibiting the further introduction of 
slavery, with a sort of guarantee to the owners 
of the few indentured servants, giving freedom 
to their children to be born thereafter, and 
making no mention whatever of any supposed 
slave for life. Out of this small matter the 
judge manufactures his argument that Illinois 
came into the Union as a slave State. Let the 
facts be the answer to the argument. 

The principles of the Nebraska bill, he says, 
expelled slavery from Illinois. The principle 
of that bill first planted it here — that is, it 
first came because there was no law to prevent 
it, first came before we owned the country; and 


finding it here, and having the ordinance of 
'87 to prevent its increasing, our people strug- 
gled along, and finally got rid of it as best they 

But the principle of the Nebraska bill abolish- 
ed slavery in several of the old States. Well, 
it is true that several of the old States, in the 
last quarter of the last century, did adopt sys- 
tems of gradual emancipation by which the in- 
stitution has finally become extinct within their 
limits; but it may or may not be true that the 
principle of the Nebraska bill was the cause that 
led to the adoption of these measures. It is 
now more than fifty years since the last of these 
States adopted its sysem of emancipation. 

If the Nebraska bill is the real author of the 
benevolent works, it is rather deplorable that 
it has for so long a time ceased working alto- 
gether. Is there not some reason to suspect that 
it was the principle of the Revolution, and not 
the principle of the Nebraska bill, that led to 
emancipation in these old States? Leave it to 
the people of these old emancipating States, and 
I am quite certain they will decide that neither 
that nor any other good thing ever did or ever 
will come of the Nebraska bill. 


In the course of my argument, Judge Doug- 
las interrupted me to say that the principle of 
the Nebraska bill was very old; that it origi- 
nated when God made man, and placed good 
and evil before him, allowing him to choose 
for himself, being responsible for the choice he 
should make. At the time I thought this was 
merely playful, and I answered it accordingly. 
But in his reply to me he renewed it as a ser- 
ious argument. In seriousness, then, the facts 
of this proposition are not true as stated. God 
did not place good and evil before man, telling 
him to make his choice. On the contrary, he 
did tell him there was one tree of the fruit of 
which he should not eat, upon pain of certain 
death. I should scarcely wish so strong a pro- 
hibition against slavery in Nebraska. 

But this argument strikes me as not a little 
remarkable in another particular — in its strong 
resemblance to the old argument for the "divine 
right of kings." By the latter, the king is to 
do just as he pleases with his white subjects, 
being responsible to God alone. By the former, 
the white man is to do just as he pleases with 
his black slaves, being responsible to God alone. 
The two things are precisely alike, and it is but 


natural that they should find similar arguments 
to sustain them. 

I had argued that the application of the prin- 
ciple of self-government, as contended for, 
would require the revival of the African slave- 
trade: that no argument could be made in favor 
of a man's right to take slaves to Nebraska, 
which could not be equally well made in favor 
of his right to bring them from the coast of 
Africa. The judge replied that the Constitution 
requires the suppression of the foreign slave- 
trade, but does not require the prohibition of 
slavery in the Territories. That is a mistake in 
point of fact. The Constitution does not re- 
quire the action of Congress in either case, and 
it does authorize it in both. And so there is 
still no difference between the cases. 

In regard to what I have said of the advantage 
the slave States have over the free in the matter 
of representation, the judge replied that we in 
the free States count five free negroes as five 
white people, while in the slave States they 
count five slaves as three whites only; and that 
the advantage, at last, was on the side of the 
free States. 



Now, in the slave States they count free 
negroes just as we do; and it so happens that 
besides their slaves, they have as many free 
negroes as we have, and thirty thousand over. 
Thus, their free negroes more than balance ours; 
and their advantage over us, in consequence of 
their slaves, still remains as I stated it. 

In reply to my argument that the compromise 
measure of 1850 were a system of equivalents, 
and that the provisions of no one of them could 
fairly be carried to other subjects without its 
corresponding equivalent being carried with it, 
the judge denied outright that these measures 
had any connection with or dependence upon 
each other. This is mere desperation. If they 
had no connection, why are they always spoken 
of in connection? Why has he so spoken of 
them a thousand times? Why has he con- 
stantly called them a series of measures? Why 
does everybody call them a compromise? Why 
was California kept out of the Union six or 
seven months, if it was not because of its con- 
nection with the other measures? Webster's 
leading definition of the verb "to compromise" 
is "to adjust and settle a difference, by mutual 
agreement, with concessions of claims by the 


parties." This conveys precisely the popular 
understanding of the word "compromise." 

We knew, before the judge told us, that these 
measures passed separately, and in distinct bills, 
and that no two of them were passed by the 
votes of precisely the same members. But we 
also know, and so does he know, that no one 
of them could have passed both branches of 
Congress but for the understanding that the 
others were to pass also. Upon this under- 
standing, each got votes which it could have 
got in no other way. It is this fact which 
gives to the measures their true character; and 
it is the universal knowledge of this fact that 
has given them the name of "compromise," so 
expressive of that true character. 

I had asked "if, in carrying the Utah and 
New Mexico laws to Nebraska, you could clear 
away other objection, but could you leave Ne- 
braska 'perfectly free' to introduce slavery be- 
fore she forms a constitution during her terri- 
torial government, while the Utah and New 
Mexico laws only authorize it when they form 
constitutions and are admitted into the Union?" 
To this Judge Douglas answered that the Utah 
and New Mexico laws also authorized it be- 


fore; and to prove this he read from one of their 
laws, as follows: "That the legislative power 
of said territory shall extend to all rightful sub- 
jects of legislation, consistent with the Consti- 
tution of the United States and the provisions 
of this act." 

Now it is perceived from the reading of this 
that there is nothing express upon the subject, 
but that the authority is sought to be implied 
merely for the general provision of "all rightful 
subjects of legislation." In reply to this I in- 
sist, as a legal rule of construction, as well as 
the plain, popular view of the matter, that the 
express provisions for Utah and New Mexico 
coming in with slavery, if they choose, when 
they shall form constitutions, is an exclusion 
of all implied authority on the same subject; 
that Congress, having the subject distinctly in 
their minds when they made the express pro- 
vision, they therein expressed their whole mean- 
ing on that subject. 

The judge rather insinuated that I had found 
it convenient to forget the Washington terri- 
torial law passed in 1853. This was a division 
of Oregon organizing the northern part as the 
Territory of Washington. He asserted that by 


this act the ordinance of '87, theretofore exist- 
ing in Oregon, was repealed; that nearly all the 
members of Congress voted for it, beginning in 
the House of Representatives with Charles Al- 
len of Massachusetts, and ending with Richard 
Yates of Illinois; and that he could not under- 
stand how those who now oppose the Nebraska 
bill so voted there, unless it was because it was 
then too soon after both the great political par- 
ties had ratified the compromises of 1850, and 
the ratification therefore was too fresh to be 
then repudiated. 

Now I had seen the Washington act before, 
and I have carefully examined it since; and I 
aver that there is no repeal of the ordinance 
of '87, or of any prohibition of slavery, in it. 
In express terms, there is absolutely nothing in 
the whole law upon the subject — in fact, noth- 
ing to lead a reader to think of the subject. To 
my judgment it is equally free from everything 
from which repeal can be legally implied; but 
however this may be, are men now to be en- 
trapped by a legal implication, extracted from 
covert language, introduced perhaps for the very 
purpose of entrapping them? I sincerely wish 
every man could read this law quite through, 


carefully watching every sentence and every line 
for a repeal of the ordinance of '87, or anything 
equivalent to it. 

Another point on the Washington act. If 
it was intended to be modeled after the Utah 
and New Mexico acts, as Judge Douglas insists, 
why was it not inserted in it, as in them, that 
Washington was to come in with or without 
slavery as she may choose at the adoption of her 
constitution? It has no such provision in it; 
and I defy the ingenuity of a man to give a 
reason for the omission, other than that it was 
not intended to follow the Utah and New Mex- 
ico laws in regard to the question of slavery. 

The Washington act not only differs vitally 
from the Utah and New Mexico acts, but the 
Nebraska act differs vitally from both. By the 
latter act the people are left "perfectly free" to 
regulate their own domestic concerns, etc.; but 
in all the former, all their laws are to be sub- 
mitted to Congress, and if disapproved are to 
be null. The Washington act goes even further; 
it absolutely prohibits the territorial legislature, 
by very strong and guarded language, from es- 
tablishing banks or borrowing money on the 
faith of the Territory. Is this the sacred right 


of self-government we hear vaunted so much? 
No sir; the Nebraska bill finds no model in the 
act of '50 or the Washington act. It finds no 
model in any law from Adam till today. As 
Phillips says of Napoleon, the Nebraska act is 
grand, gloomy and peculiar, wrapped in the 
solitude of its own originality, without a model 
and without a shadow upon the earth. 

In the course of his reply Senator Douglas 
remarked in substance that he had always con- 
sidered this government was made for the white 
people and not for the negroes. Why, in point 
of mere fact, I think so too. But in this re- 
mark of the judge there is a significance which 
I think is the key to the great mistake (if there 
is any such mistake) which he has made in 
this Nebraska measure. It shows that the judge 
has no very vivid impression that the negro is 
human, and consequently has no idea that there 
can be any moral question in legislating about 
him. In his view the question of whether a new 
country shall be slave or free, is a matter of as 
utter indifference as it is whether his neighbor 
shall plant his farm with tobacco or stock it 
with horned cattle. Now, whether this view is 
right or wrong, it is very certain that the great 


mass of mankind take a totally different view. 
They consider slavery a great moral wrong, and 
their feeling against it is not evanescent, but 
eternal. It lies at the very foundation of their 
sense of justice, and it cannot be trifled with. 
It is a great and durable element of popular 
action, and I think no statesman can safely dis- 
regard it. 

Our Senator also objects that those who op- 
pose him in this matter do not entirely agree 
with one another. He reminds me that in my 
firm adherence to the constitutional rights of the 
slave States, I differ widely from others who 
are co-operating with me in opposing the Ne- 
braska bill, and he says it is not quite fair to 
oppose him in this variety of ways. He should 
remember that he took us by surprise — astound- 
ed us by this measure. We were thunderstruck 
and stunned, and we reeled and fell in utter 
confusion. But we rose, each fighting, grasping 
whatever he could first reach — a scythe, a pitch- 
fork, a chopping ax, or a butcher's cleaver. We 
struck in the direction of the sound, and we 
were rapidly closing in upon him. He must not 
think to divert us from our purpose by show- 
ing us that our drill, our dress, and our weapons 


are not entirely perfect and uniform. When the 
storm shall be past he shall find us still Ameri- 
cans, no less devoted to the continued union and 
prosperity of the country than heretofore. 




A Broadside Published 1866 by¥m. H. Herndon, 
of Springfield, 111., Lincoln's Law Partner 

The writer of this has been placed wrongly 
on a particular record. The work to which 
allusion is made is a Biography of Mr. Lincoln, 
written and published in Springfield, Mass. I 
have hitherto abstained from exposing the 
mistake, first, because I thought it might injure 
the sale of the Biography, and second, because 
I knew the people would soon see the error. 
It is now time to speak. The facts are both 
interesting and important; they show Douglas 
opinion of the strength of Mr. Lincoln; they 
show the goodness of Mr. Lincoln, and they 
explain an event of interest. Hence I assert 
that the facts are interesting and important, 
and should therefore be known, in justice to 

Now for the facts. Senator Douglas made 
a speech in the city of Springfield, Illinois, in 


1854. It was delivered to a large and intelli- 
gent audience in the Hall of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, October 4th, 1854; it was in the 
day time, and during the State Fair. Mr. Lin- 
coln was present at the speech, heard it atten- 
tively, took notes, and prepared himself to 
answer it the next day. The next day — say 
at one o'clock P. M., Mr. Lincoln made his ap- 
pearance in the same hall and then and there 
spoke to a similar audience — equal in number 
and intelligence. — Senator Douglas spoke for 
about two and one half hours the day before. 
Mr. Lincoln spoke on the 5th day of October 
about three and one half hours. Much enthus- 
iasm prevailed at the time of these speeches. 
Senator Douglas replied to Mr. Lincoln on the 
same day and to the same audience. Douglas 
in reply spoke eloquently and energetically for 
about one hour. Senator Douglas at that time 
had a published list of appointments — say com- 
mencing at Springfield, October 4th, at Peoria, 
October the 16th, at Lacon on the 17th, at 
Princeton on the 18th, and at Aurora on the 
19th. Mr. Lincoln's friends asked — nay actu- 
ally petitioned Mr. Lincoln, praying that he 
would follow Douglas and answer him when- 


ever and wherever he spoke. Douglas did go 
to Peoria to fill his appointments: he spoke in 
Peoria according to published notice on the 16th 
of October 1854. — Mr. Lincoln did follow 
Senator Douglas to Peoria and did hear him 
speak — did take notes — did arrange them, and 
did answer Senator Douglas, say at 7 o'clock in 
the evening of that day in the same house. Sen- 
ator Douglas I presume was present. Senator 
Douglas replied, as at the Hall of the House of 
Representatives in Springfield, he concluding 
both debates. It was the fixed determination of 
Mr. Lincoln to follow Senator Douglas to his 
appointments, and to the end. He had made 
full preparations to go to Lacon, Princeton and 
Aurora, as well as elsewhere. 

After the debate was over Senator Douglas, 
probably on October the 17th, sent for Mr. 
Lincoln at Peoria or on the way to Lacon. Mr. 
Lincoln did go and see Senator Douglas: they 
had a private conversation about the speeches 
that were to be made. Senator Douglas at 
that meeting said to Mr. Lincoln substantially, 
if not in words, this: "Mr. Lincoln, you have 
made me more trouble on this Territorial ques- 
tion, and the facts and laws of their organiza- 


tion, with intents and purposes, in the govern- 
ment, since its organization than all the mem- 
bers of the Senate of the United States. You 
know what trouble they have given me. You 
have given me more trouble than all the oppo- 
sition. I now propose this to you: If you will 
go home, and make no more speeches at my 
appointments I will go to no more of my pub- 
lished places of speaking, and remain silent. I 
can make nothing ofF you, and you can't off 
me. "Your will be done. Senator Douglas; I 
don't wish to crowd you," replied Mr. Lincoln. 
Douglas' remaining published places were La- 
con, Princeton, and Aurora. Senator Douglas 
did go to Lacon. Lincoln did follow. Senator 
Douglas made some excuse to his friends at this 
place that his throat was sore. Mr. Lincoln 
said he would take no advantage of Senator 
Douglas' situation. 

The two great men then understood each 
other, and Lincoln in kindness and nobleness 
never insinuated what was the matter, nor did 
he crowd Senator Douglas. Mr. Lincoln made 
his promises in good faith and really kept them 
to the end, inviolate in fact and spirit. Mr. 
Lincoln returned to his home in the city of 


Springfield, Illinois, about the 19th of October, 
1854. He remained in this city till the elec- 
tion was over, making no more speeches, I say, 
during that canvass. Several of Mr. Lincoln's 
friends met him in his office some days after 
the 19th of October. Some of these men were 
the original petitioners spoken of before. These 
men, or some of them are as follows: Peyton 
L. Harrison, Ben'j. F. Irwin — a petitioner — 
Isaac Cogdall, and myself. Mr. Irwin prob- 
ably asked him why he did not follow Senator 
Douglas, as he had promised to do as under- 
stood. This placed Mr. Lincoln in a dilemma; 
his word was out to follow and answer Sena- 
tor Douglas and the petitioner asked him why 
he did not follow. Mr. Lincoln after a few 
minutes' reflection then told the reasons, en- 
joining privacy on all as above given; he good 
naturedly said in mitigation or excuse: "Senator 
Douglas flattered me into the arrangement, and 
you must not blame me." 

A few months — say one or two months — 
after Mr. Lincoln's assassination, a gentleman 
from Springfield, Mass., came into my office 
and presented me with a letter of introduction 
from a friend in Chicago, as my memory serves 


me. Probably the letter was from my friend, 
Horace White, of the Chicago Tribune. The 
New England gentleman — a member of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society — was informed 
probably at Chicago that I was writing an 
analytical life of Mr. Lincoln: he was so in- 
formed in this city. He made known his business 
and asked me several questions — none of which 
did I object to — was really desirous of helping 
the gentleman, and so told him. I answered 
the questions quickly, frankly and truthfully; 
he was with me taking notes for parts of two 
days. I told him many things, without being 
asked, it may be. I quit my business, dropped 
my professional duties for those parts of days, 
in order to accommodate and assist the man. He 
got from me what I think valuable; he evident- 
ly thought so, because he used it in the Bio- 
graphy, with Mr. Lincoln's strong, gnarly 
sentences toned down, in some instances, to suit 
an over-refined, distorted taste, as I think. The 
Massachusetts gentleman goes back to his home 
in the East, sits down in his office, and pens 
the following lines, at pages 141 and 142, 
speaking of the Peoria debate and what I told 



"At the close of the debate, the two com- 
batants held a conference, and the result of 
which has been variously reported. One author- 
ity* ( *William H. Herndon, in a foot note,) 
states that Mr. Douglas sent for Mr. Lincoln, 
and told him that if he would speak no more 
during the campaign, he (Douglas) would go 
home and remain silent during the same period, 
and that this arrangement was agreed upon, and 
its terms fulfilled. That there was a conference 
on the subjects sought, there is no doubt, and 
there is no doubt that Mr. Lincoln promised not 
to challenge him again to debate, during the 
canvass, but abundant evidence exists that Mr. 
Lincoln did not leave the field at all, but spoke 
in various parts of the State." 

I am not objecting to the manner of his 
statement, though that is not correct. I am 
not raising any objection on that issue. Let 
it stand as it is. I have italicized some words 
which are not in the original. Here is a direct 
assertion, on my part, that Mr. Lincoln said 
as above stated by me. I did make the asser- 
tion as I state it. Here in the book, in the 
sentence quoted, is a denial of what I said, and 
now repeat. Would it not have been quite 


gentlemanly for the man to have given me a 
chance to correct the error, by informing me of it 
by letter, or otherwise.' 5 If he did not choose so 
to do, would it not have been quite gentlemanly 
to have left my name out, as the author of the 
story, or even a part of it? There is an allega- 
tion that after the 16th of October, 1854, and 
after Mr. Lincoln's agreement with Senator 
Douglas, that Mr. Lincoln, during the canvass 
of that year, did on various occasions and places 
address the people of Illinois on the questions 
of the day. One of three things is true: First, 
I told a lie: second, that Mr. Lincoln acted in 
bad faith — broke his sacred honor by addressing 
the people after the 16th of October; or, third 
that the gentleman has no abundant evidence 
to prove that Mr. Lincoln, after that 16th day, 
did speak "in various parts of the State." But 
suppose that Mr. Lincoln and myself are cor- 
rect, then what? Let me state a fact here, by 
way of note as it were. It is said to me, on 
what I consider good authority, that Senator 
Douglas did speak at Princeton, on the 18th 
day of October, contrary to his agreement with 
Mr. Lincoln. I regret to learn this, and leave 
an explanation to come from Senator Douglas' 


friend, who should, for his credit, investigate 
the matter thoroughly and well. Senator Doug- 
las may have been driven to this by the people 
— the Democrats and Republicans at that place 
and time; or he may have been bantered into it 
by the Republicans, who had then and there 
an eloquent champion on the spot, ready and 
anxious to answer Senator Douglas. The gen- 
tleman here spoken of, or alluded to, was the 
Hon. Owen Lovejoy. There is some excuse, 
some explanation, some probable cause why 
Senator Douglas spoke at Princeton, some- 
where, and it can be found out. 

Now, as to that abundant evidence, let us see. 
Mr. Lincoln returned to his home in this city 
about the 19th day of October — three days after 
the Peoria debate; he sat down and here com- 
menced writing out, as rapidly as he could, his 
Peoria speech, which, in substance, is the Spring- 
field speech, with the fire died out, made Octo- 
ber the 5th; he was a candidate for the State 
Legislature at that time, probably against his 
will. The Sangamon Circuit Court was com- 
ing on apace and he must turn some of his at- 
tention to these things. The first part of Mr. 
Lincoln's speech appears in the Illinois Daily 


Journal — now called — October 21st. The entire 
speech runs through seven numbers of the Daily 
Journal. Mr. Lincoln was at home, writing 
out and correcting the proof sheets of his speech. 
I well know, well remember this. I so assert 
this now. The full speech as written out by 
Mr. Lincoln, first appeared as it now stands 
in the Weekly Journal, Nov. the 2d, 1854, No. 
1 , 213. The November election, by the Consti- 
tution and laws of the State of Illinois, took 
place — came off, on the 7th day of November, 
1854. There are five days between the 2d of 
November and the 7th. Will some gentleman 
show, procure that abundant evidence spoken 
of? Will some good man show that Mr. Lin- 
coln made, after the 16th of October, various 
speeches to the people of Illinois, during the can- 
vass of that year? Will some searching, inquir- 
ing mind show any evidence by the record that 
Mr. Lincoln spoke at all after the day agreed 
upon between Senator Douglas and himself? 
I aver that there is no such abundant evidence 
of record, nor other well authenticated evidence 
anywhere. No man can show that Mr. Lincoln 
violated his sacred honor. No man can show 
that Mr. Lincoln ever addressed the people after 


his promise. I aver that he told me — rather told 
Ben'j F. Irwin, Peyton L. Harrison, Isaac Cog- 
dall and myself, that he had made the agree- 
ment with Senator Douglas substantially as I 
state it. Men may carelessly, loosely say that 
Mr. Lincoln did violate his honor, by saying 
that he did speak contrary to the above agree- 
ment. For Mr. Lincoln's sake, and for my own 
sake, I appeal to, and ask for the record, or any 
other valid, reliable evidence. If I assert, as I 
do, these things, I wilfully tell falsehood; and 
I ought to have no quarter, and because of that 
I ask for none. 

Feeling that I have been badly treated, and 
misplaced, as it were, wantonly, on the record, 
I am compelled in self defense to publish this 
letter. It is probable that the Biographer would, 
in another edition of the work correct the error, 
but I know of no law compelling me to wait 
for that contingency. The publication of this 
letter cannot injure the sale of his life of Mr. 


Truly yours, 




Nicolay and Hay in their Life of Lincoln 
speak of the encounter of Judge Douglas and 
Lincoln at the Illinois State Fair at Springfield, 
as a debate. This is hardly correct, as State 
Fair Week was an occasion when speakers from 
all parts presented their views and was followed 
at this time — Lincoln and Douglas speaking up- 
on different days. 

Their account of the Peoria meeting and com- 
ments upon Lincoln's speech are of so much in- 
terest that I venture to here reproduce what they 
have to say. (Vol. 1, Page 378, "Abraham 
Lincoln, Nicolay and Hay.") 

"Douglas made his speech, according to 
notice, on the first day of the fair, Tuesday, Oc- 
tober 3. 'I will mention,' said he, 'in his open- 
ing remarks, 'that it is understood by some gen- 
tlemen that Mr. Lincoln, of this city, is expected 
to answer me. If this is the understanding, I 
wish that Mr. Lincoln would step forward and 
let us arrange some plan upon which to carry 
out this discussion.' Mr. Lincoln was not there 
at the moment, and the arrangement could not 
then be made. Unpropitious weather had 


"The first duty of an American citizen is obedience to 
the Constitution and Laws of his Country." 

— Stephen A. Douglas. 


brought the meeting to the Representatives' Hall 
in the State House, which was densely packed. 
The next day found the same hall filled as before 
to hear Mr. Lincoln. Douglas occupied a seat 
just in front of him, and in his rejoinder he 
explained that 'my friend Mr. Lincoln expressly 
invited me to stay and hear him speak today, as 
he heard me yesterday, and to answer and defend 
myself as best I could. I here thank him for 
his courteous offer.' The occasion greatly equal- 
ized the relative standing of the champions. The 
familiar surroundings, the presence and hearty 
encouragement of his friends, put Lincoln in his 
best vein. His bubbling humor, his perfect 
temper, and above all the overwhelming current 
of his historical arraignment extorted the admir- 
ation of even his political enemies. 'His speech 
was four hours in length,' wrote one of these, 
'and was conceived and expressed in a most 
happy and pleasant style, and was received with 
abundant applause. At times he made statements 
which brought Senator Douglas to his feet, and 
then good-humored passages of wit created 
much interest and enthusiasm.' All reports 
plainly indicate that Douglas was astonished 
and disconcerted at this unexpected strength of 
argument, and that he struggled vainly through 


a two hours' rejoinder to break the force of Lin- 
coln's victory in the debate. Lincoln had hith- 
erto been the foremost man in his district. That 
single effort made him the leader on the new 
question in his State. 

"The fame of this success brought Lincoln 
urgent calls from all the places where Douglas 
was expected to speak. Accordingly, twelve 
days afterwards, October 16, they once more 
met in debate, at Peoria. Lincoln, as before, 
gave Douglas the opening and closing speeches, 
explaining that he was willing to yield this ad- 
vantage in order to secure a hearing from the 
Democratic portion of his listeners. The audi- 
ence was a large one, but not so representative in 
its character as that at Springfield. The occa- 
sion was made memorable, however, by the fact 
that when Lincoln returned home he wrote out 
and published his speech. We have therefore 
the revised text of his argument, and are able to 
estimate its character and value. Marking as it 
does with unmistakable precision a step in the 
second period of his intellectual development, it 
deserves the careful attention of the student of 
his life. 






% OCTOBER 16, 1854 *l&3> 


Mimimimmm m. 







"After the lapse of more than a quarter of a 
century the critical reader still finds it a model 
of brevity, directness, terse diction, exact and 
lucid historical statement, and full of logical 
propositions so short and so strong as to resem- 
ble mathematical axioms. Above all it is pre- 
vaded by an elevation of thought and aim that 
lifts it out of the commonplace of mere party 
controversy. Comparing it with his later 
speeches, we find it to contain not only the argu- 
ment of the hour, but the premonition of the 
broader issues into which the new struggle was 
destined soon to expand. 

"The main, broad current of his reasoning 
was to vindicate and restore the policy of the 
fathers of the country in the restriction of slav- 
ery; but running through this like a thread of 
gold was the demonstration of the essential in- 
justice and immorality of the system. He said: 

"This declared indifference but, as I must 
think, covert zeal for the spread of slavery, I 
cannot but hate. I hate it because of the mon- 
strous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it be- 
cause it deprives our republican example of its 
just influence in the world; enables the enemies 
of free institutions with plausibility to taunt us 
as hypocrites; causes the real friends of freedom 


to doubt our sincerity; and especially because it 
forces so many really good men among our- 
selves into an open war with the very funda- 
mental principles of civil liberty, criticizing 
the Declaration of Independence and insisting 
that there is no right principle of action but self 

"The doctrine of self-government is right, — 
absolutely and eternally right, — but it has no 
just application as here attempted. Or perhaps 
I should rather say that whether it has such just 
application, depends upon whether a negro is 
not, or is, a man. If he is not a man, in that 
case he who is a man may as a matter of self- 
government do just what he pleases with him. 
But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent 
a total destruction of self-government to say 
that he too shall not govern himself? When 
the white man governs himself, that is self- 
government; but when he governs himself and 
also governs another man, that is more than 
self-government — that is despotism. 

"What I do say is, that no man is good 
enough to govern another man without that 
other's consent. 

"The master not only governs the slave with- 
out his consent, but he governs him by a set of 



rules altogether different from those which he 
prescribes for himself. Allow all the governed 
an equal voice in the government; that, and that 
only, is self-government. 

"Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's 
nature — opposition to it, in his love of justice. 
These principles are an eternal antagonism; and 
when brought into collision so fiercely as slav- 
ery extension brings them, shocks and throes 
and convulsions must ceaselessly follow. Re- 
peal the Missouri Compromise — repeal all com- 
promise — repeal the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence — repeal all past history — still you cannot 
repeal human nature. 

"I particularly object to the new position 
which the avowed principle of this Nebraska 
law gives to slavery in the body politic. I ob- 
ject to it because it assumes that there can be 
moral right in the enslaving of one man by an- 
other. I object to it as a dangerous dalliance 
for a free people, — a sad evidence that feeling 
prosperity, we forget right, — that liberty as a 
principle we have ceased to revere. 

"Little by little, but steadily as man's march 
to the grave, we have been giving up the old 
for the new faith. Near eighty years ago we 


began by declaring that all men are created 
equal; but now from that beginning we have 
run down to the other declaration that for some 
men to enslave others is a 'sacred right of self- 
government.' These principles cannot stand to- 
gether. They are as opposite as God and mam- 

"Our Republican robe is soiled and trailed in 
the dust. Let us repurify it. Let us turn and 
wash it white, in the spirit if not the blood of 
the Revolution. Let us turn slavery from its 
claims of 'Moral right' back upon its existing 
legal rights, and its arguments of 'necessity.' 
Let us return it to the position our fathers gave 
it, and there let it rest in peace. Let us readopt 
the Declaration of Independence, and the prac- 
tices and policy which harmonize with it. Let 
North and South — let all Americans — let all 
lovers of liberty everywhere — join in the great 
and good work. If we do this, we shall not 
only have saved the Union, but we shall have 
so saved it, as to make and to keep it forever 
worthy of the saving. We shall have so saved 
it that the succeeding millions of free, happy 
people, the world over, shall rise up and call us 
blessed to the latest generations." 



These recollections of my boyhood days are 
as pictures of the old masters whose colors re- 
main vivid through all the years. No words of 
mine can better describe what memory recalls of 
those stirring days, than the following from the 
pen of the special correspondent of the New 
York Post written four years after Lincoln and 
Douglas met in Peoria: 

"It is astonishing how deep an interest in 
politics this people take. Over long weary miles 
of hot and dusty prairie the processions of eager 
partisans come — on foot, on horseback, in 
wagons drawn by horses or mules; men, women 
and children, old and young; the half sick, just 
out of the last 'shake'; children in arms, infants 
at the maternal fount, pushing on in clouds of 
dust and beneath the blazing sun; settling down 
at the town where the meeting is, with hardly a 
chance for sitting, and even less opportunity for 
eating, waiting in anxious groups for hours at 
the places of speaking, talking, discussing, liti- 
gious, vociferous, while the war artillery, the 
music of the bands, the waving of banners, the 


huzzahs of the crowds, as delegation after dele- 
gation appears; the cry of the peddlers vending 
all sorts of ware, from an infallible cure of 
'agur' to a monster watermelon in slices to suit 
purchasers — combine to render the occasion one 
scene of confusion and commotion. The hour 
of one arrives and a perfect rush is made for the 
grounds; a column of dust is rising to the 
heavens and fairly deluging those who are 
hurrying on through it. Then the speakers 
come with flags, and banners, and music, sur- 
rounded by cheering partisans. Their arrival at 
the ground and immediate approach to the 
stand is the signal for shouts that rend the 
heavens. They are introduced to the audience 
amidst prolonged and enthusiastic cheers; they 
are interrupted by frequent applause; and they 
sit down finally amid the same uproarous dem- 
onstration. The audience sit or stand patiently 
throughout, and, as the last word is spoken, 
make a break for their homes, first hunting up 
lost members of their families, getting their 
scattered wagonloads together, and, as the day- 
light fades away, entering again upon the broad 
prairies and slowly picking their way back to 
the place of beginning." 


In 1854 the old Court House stood in the 
same place as the present one. From the north 
corner of the square extending to the foot of 
the bluff and running through where now 
stands the Woman's Club House, was an ave- 
nue of locust trees fragrant in blossom time. 
Around the square were hitching racks to which 
were tied horses and mules attached to vehicles 
of every description — delegations arriving were 
preceded by floats. Usually there was one con- 
taining Miss Columbia, surrounded by young 
ladies in white, wearing sashes upon which were 
lettered the names of the States represented. I 
recall my mother entertaining one such, and im- 
provising for them beds upon the floor. To 
cook for thirty or forty was no trick for the 
efficient housewife of those days. Flags were 
almost invariably mounted upon saplings with 
a bunch of leaves at the top. At night illum- 
inations glowed from candles set in rows in 
windows. It is all a glorious memory. 

We regret that we have been unable to pro- 
cure any part of the address of Senator Douglas 
on this occasion. 



It will be noted that the writer has taken for 
his text — "I saw and heard Lincoln and Doug- 
las when a boy." This only! Variety may 
lead me far afield in striving to impart a per- 
sonal touch to my sketch, but I have found that 
children enjoy those stories most to which one 
adds a relationship. No matter how remote, and 
what are we all but grown up children — robbed 
of their bloom and touched with the canker of 
egotistic wisdom. For wisdom is the name we 
give our knowledge of evil, whereas, true wis- 
dom dwells only in the innocence of childhood. 
Probably no one stood higher in the esteem 
and confidence of Lincoln, than Colonel Alex- 
ander K. McClure, whose first wife was a 
cousin of my father. 

The following is an account of Colonel 

Colonel Alexander K. McClure, the editorial 
director of the Philadelphia Times, which he 
founded in 1875, began his forceful career as 
a tanner's apprentice in the mountains of Penn- 
sylvania three score years ago. He tanned hides 
all day, and read exchanges nights in the neigh- 


boring weekly newspaper office. The learned 
tanner's boy also became the aptest tanner in 
the county, and the editor testified his admira- 
tion for young McClure's attainments by send- 
ing him to edit a new weekly paper which the 
exigencies of politics called into being in an 
adjoining county. 

The lad was over six feet high, had the 
thews of Ajax and the voice of Boanerges, 
and knew enough about shoe-leather not to be 
afraid of any man that stood in it. He made 
his paper a success, went into politics, and made 
that a success, studied law with William Mc- 
Lellan. and made that a success, and actually 
went into the army — and made that a success, 
by an interesting accident, which brought him 
into close personal relations with Abraham Lin- 
coln, whom he had helped to nominate, serv- 
ing as chairman of the Republican State Com- 
mittee of Pennsylvania through the campaign. 

In 1862 the government needed troops badly, 
and in each Pennsylvania county Republicans 
and Democrats were appointed to assist in the 
enrollment, under the State laws. McClure, 
working day and night at Harrisburg. saw con- 
scripts coming in at the rate of a thousand a 


day, only to fret in idleness against the army 
red-tape which held them there instead of send- 
ing a regiment a day to the front, as McClure 
demanded should be done. The military offi- 
cer continued to dispatch two companies a day 
— leaving the mass of the conscripts to be fed 
by the contractors. 

McClure went to Washington and said to 
the President, "You must send a mustering of- 
ficer to Harrisburg who will do as I say; I 
can't stay there any longer under existing con- 

Lincoln sent into another room for Adju- 
tant-General Thomas. "General," said he, 
"what is the highest rank of military officer 
at Harrisburg?" "Captain, sir," said Thomas. 
"Bring me a commission for an Assistant Ad- 
jutant-General of the United States Army," 
said Lincoln. 

So Adjutant-General McClure was mustered 
in, and after that a regiment a day of boys in 
blue left Harrisburg for the front. Colonel 
McClure is one of the group of great Celt- 
American editors, which included Medill, Mc- 
Cullagh and McLean. 



Long after the war Colonel McClure col- 
lected and published a book of Lincoln stories 
— "Lincoln's Own Yarns and Stories." — This 
one interested me: 


The following story was told by Mr. Lin- 
coln to Mr. A. J. Conant, the artist, who paint- 
ed his portrait in Springfield in 1860: 

"One day a man who was migrating to the 
West drove up in front of my store with a 
wagon which contained his family and house- 
hold plunder. He asked me if I would buy an 
old barrel for which he had no room in his 
wagon, and which he said contained nothing of 
special value. I did not want it, but to oblige 
him I bought it, and paid him, I think, half a 
dollar for it. Without further examination, I 
put it away in the store and forgot all about 
it. Some time after, in overhauling things, I 
came upon the barrel, and, emptying it upon 
the floor to see what it contained, I found at the 
bottom of the rubbish a complete edition of 
Blackstone's Commentaries. I began to read 
those famous works, and I had plenty of time; 
for during the long summer days, when the 


farmers were busy with their crops, my cus- 
tomers were few and far between. The more 
I read" — this he said with unusual emphasis — 
"the more intensely interested I became. 
Never in my whole life was my mind so thor- 
oughly absorbed. I read until I devoured 

Grant Wright is an artist — a Peoria boy — 
with a studio in New York. Some time ago 
he sent me a "leaf from my sketch book" — 
It is a pencil portrait of Conant — then in his 
94th year. (A photograph of the original is 
shown on another page. ) The sketch was made 
November 1 2th, 1914. Below the picture Grant 
has written "Dear Cloyd: On the opposite side 
is a little talk I had with this grand old man 
of the Art World just before he died. He paint- 
ed from life the only smiling Lincoln — The 
portrait is now in the Phillipsie Manor Yonk- 
ers. I also record the reporter's story of the 
New York Herald two years before." On the 
back of the leaf he writes, as follows: 

"Mr. Conant passes his declining years with 
his daughter, Mrs. Smith. His portrait of Gen- 
eral Anderson whom he esteemed very highly 
we worked on with great zeal and a study for 



1 ' 

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«Al£j, ■^2£viA7& r"- 


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Sen » — «-0«/^4U«rf3S 


perfect detail as to surroundings, drapery, etc., 
— cannon, carriage, flag backers — the grand old 
man always bids one a farewell. N. Y. Herald 

"Dear B. C: 

"Eight years ago I made this sketch in this 
grand old man's studio (59 W. 10th St.) a 
building devoted to the welfare of what we 
call the ancient and honorables in the Art 
World. The building is full of studios of 
past masters in the Arts who had passed the 
Three Score and ten, and were yet progressive 
and productive. Thos. Wood, Edward Gay, 
Seymour Guy, Wm. M. Chase, at one time had 
their studios there — this to describe the old 
10th St. Studio Building. In 1916 the old 
gentleman passed to the great beyond (96 years 
old.) He was one of the most lovable char- 
acters — one of the grandest men, and his rela- 
tion with past history made him mighty inter- 
esting. He had in his studio Gen. Anderson's 
picture, and, of course the smiling face of Lin- 
coln whom he loved to talk about. He told 
me how Lincoln described to him one of his 
forensic spars with Douglas— how Douglas had 
accused him of everything from being a failure 


to a disloyalist. 'He comes to you after vot- 
ing in Congress to withdraw supplies from our 
soldiers in Mexico' — said Douglas, 'because he 
was opposed to the Mexican war. This man 
who has made a failure at everything he has 
undertaken: he was a failure as a farmer; as a 
surveyor: as lawyer: as soldier — yes, and as a 
saloon keeper — he couldn't make a living a 
decent one selling rum, and now he comes to 
you asking for my seat in the Senate.' Here old 
man Conant told me Lincoln chuckled like a 
school boy — 'Then,' said Lincoln 'it was my 
turn. I thanked Judge Douglas for having 
such an accurate biography of me — he covers 
my pedigree about as well as anyone could, but 
about my vote on the Mexican affair — Here is 
Judge Fithian (or Fitter,) who is a Democratic 
colleague of Douglas, let him say. I brought 
Fithian right out of his audience — brought him 
up on the platform and made him admit that 
I was not in Congress when the question of 
appropriation for soldiers was voted on.' Then 
said Mr. Conant — Lincoln chuckled again. 'I 
said yes, Judge Douglas certainly covered me 
pretty close. I was a failure as a politician. I 
was a failure as a surveyor. I was a failure as 
a lawyer, but Judge Douglas has neglected to 


say in his castigation of me as a barkeeper that 
when I was on one side of the bar, he was al- 
ways on the other' — this brought down the 
house, and Judge Douglas laughed off the plat- 

"He told me of his first visit to New York, 
of his call on Henry Inman — how he came 
forward to greet him, and how he invited him 
to sit down by his side while he worked, which 
was then on a portrait of Bishop Hughes — how 
he questioned Mr. Conant, then but a boy, 
about what he had been doing around town. 
'I told him I had been up to see Mr. Coleman's 
exhibit of pictures, when he said 'what did you 
think of them?' I being in the first flush of 
youth and enthusiastic, I told him I was en- 
raptured over them. He said, 'Rot, they're all 
forgeries,' and from that time on I made up my 
mind I will make a more thorough investiga- 
tion, and go deeper into things before comment- 
ing. Mr. Inman had his studio on Broad- 
way, and was working on a portrait of, or 
had just finished a portrait of Bishop Onder- 



In 1858. Captain James N. Brown, a native 
of Kentucky, was a candidate upon the Repub- 
lican ticket for the Legislature. Being assailed 
for running upon the same ticket with a "Black 
Abolitionist," he wrote to Lincoln for some- 
thing authoritative. Lincoln procured a small 
memorandum book in which he pasted news- 
paper extracts of speeches he had made during 
the previous several years. I have in my poses- 
sion a photographic reproduction of this book 
made by my friend, J. McCan Davis, whose 
father — still living — was my comrade in the 
Civil War. This book — Davis says — is the 
only book ever written by Lincoln — Reference 
to extracts are in Lincoln's own handwriting. 

Following are the first pages of this book, 
and it will be noted that his first "clippings" 
are from his speech at Peoria, Tuesday, Octo- 
ber 16th, 1854. 

Can anything more conclusive be produced 
to show that the first step, which resulted in 
his reaching the Presidency, was taken at Peo- 
ria, October 1 6th, 1 854? Here are the extracts: 

%~&C e# >Ck w # ^ w . /sfe-^ 

C^ ^(f ^/t^v ^ 



"The following extracts arc taken from var- 
ious speeches of mine delivered at various times 
and places and I believe they contain all I have 
ever said about 'Negro Equality.' The first 
three are from my answer to Judge Douglas, 
October 16th, 1 854 at Peoria." 

First Clipping. 

"This is the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise. The foregoing history may not be 
precisely accurate in every particular; but I am 
sure it is sufficiently so, for all the uses I shall 
attempt to make of it, and in it, we have be- 
fore us, the chief material enabling us to cor- 
rectly judge whether the repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise is right or wrong. 

"I think, and shall try to show that it is 
wrong; wrong in its direct effect, letting slavery 
into Kansas and Nebraska — and wrong in its 
prospective principle, allowing it to spread to 
every other part of the wide world, where men 
can be found inclined to take it. 

"This declared indifference, but as I must 
think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, 
I cannot but hate, I hate it because of the 
monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it 
because it deprives our republican example of 
its just influence in the world — enables the ene- 


mies of free institutions, with plausibility, to 
taunt us as hypocrites — causes the real friends 
of freedom to doubt our sincerity and especial- 
ly because it forces so many really good men 
amongst ourselves into an open war with the 
very fundamental principles of civil liberty — 
criticising the Declaration of Independence, and 
insisting that there is no right principle of ac- 
tion but self-interest. 

"Before proceeding, let me say I think I have 
no prejudice against the Southern people. They 
are just what we would be in their situation. 
If slavery did not now exist amongst them, 
they would not introduce it. If it did now 
exist amongst us, we should not instantly give 
it up. This I believe of the masses north and 
south. Doubtless there are individuals on both 
sides, who would not hold slaves under any cir- 
cumstances; and others who would gladly in- 
troduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence. 
We know that some southern men do free their 
slaves, go north, and become tip-top abolition- 
ists; while some northern ones go south, and 
be — " (This clipping ends here.) 

2d Clipping. 

"When southern people tell us they are no 
more responsible for the origin of slavery, than 


we; I acknowledge the fact. When it is said 
that the institution exists, and that it is very 
difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, 
I can understand and appreciate the saying. I 
surely will not blame them for not doing what 
I should not know how to do myself. If all 
earthly power were given me, I should not know 
what to do, as to the existing institution. My 
first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and 
send them to Liberia — to their own native land. 
But a moment's reflection would convince me, 
that whatever of high hope, (as I think there 
is) there may be in this, in the long run, its 
sudden execution is impossible. If they were 
all landed there in a day, they would all perish 
in the next ten days: and there are not surplus 
shipping and surplus money enough in the 
world to carry them there in many times ten 
days. What then? Free them all, and keep 
them among us as underlings? Is it quite cer- 
tain that this betters their condition? I think 
I would not hold one in slavery, at any rate; 
yet the point is not clear enough to me to de- 
nounce people upon. What next? — Free them. 
and make them politically and socially, our 
equals? My own feelings will not admit of 


this; and if mine would, we would know that 
those of the great mass of white people will 
not. Whether this feeling accords with justice 
and sound judgment, is not the sole question, 
if indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feel- 
ing, whether well or ill-founded, can not be 
safely disregarded. We can not, then, make 
them equals. It does seem to me that systems 
of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but 
for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake 
to judge our brethern of the south. 

"When they remind us of their constitutional 
rights, I acknowledge them, not grudgingly, but 
fully, and fairly; and I would give them any 
legislation for the reclaiming of their fugitives, 
which should not, in its stringency, be more 
likely to carry a free man into slavery, than our 
ordinary criminal laws are to hang an innocent 

"But all this; to my judgment, furnishes no 
more excuse for permitting slavery to go into 
our own free territory, than it would for re- 
viving the African slave trade by law. The 
law which forbids the bringing of slaves from 
Africa; and that which has so long forbid the 
taking them to Nebraska, can hardly be dis- 


tinguished on any moral principle; and the re- 
peal of the former could find quite as plausible 
excuses as that of the latter. 

"Judge Douglas, frequently, with bitter irony 
and sarcasm, paraphrases our argument by say- 
ing "The white people of Nebraska are good 
enough to govern themselves, but they are not 
good enough to govern a few miserable ne- 
groes! !" 

"Well I doubt not that the people of Nebras- 
ka are, and will continue to be as good as the 
average of people elsewhere. I do not say the 
contrary. What I do say is, that no man is good 
enough to govern another man without that 
other's consent. I say this is the leading prin- 
ciple — the sheet anchor of American republican- 
ism. Our Declaration of Independence says: 

'We hold these truths to be self evident; 
that all men are created equal; that they are en- 
dowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 
rights; that among these are life; liberty and 
the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these 
rights, governments are instituted among men, 



"I have quoted so much at this time merely 
to show that according to our ancient faith, the 
just power of governments are derived from the 
consent of the governed. Now the relation of 
masters and slaves is, PROTANTO, a total 
violation of this principle. The master not 
only governs the slave without his consent; but 
he governs him by a set of rules altogether dif- 
ferent from those which he prescribes for him- 
self. Allow all the governed an equal voice 
in the government, and that, and that only is 

"Let it not be said I am contending for the 
establishment of political and social equality be- 
tween the whites and blacks. I have already 
said the contrary. I am not now combating 
the argument of necessity, arising from the fact 
that the blacks are already amongst us; but I 
am combating what is set up as moral argu- 
ment for allowing them to be taken where they 
have never yet been — arguing against the exten- 
sion of a bad thing, which where it already ex- 
ists we must of necessity, manage as we best 

3d Clipping, 

"In the course of his reply, Senator Douglas 
remarked, in substance, that he had always con- 


sidered this government was made for the white 
people and not for the negroes. Why, in point 
of mere fact, I think so too. But in this re- 
mark of the Judge, there is a significance, which 
I think is the key to the great mistake (if there 
is any such mistake) which he has made in this 
Nebraska measure. It shows that the Judge 
has no very vivid impression that the negro is 
a human; and consequently has no idea that 
there can be any moral question in legislating 
about him. In his view, the question of whether 
a new country shall be slave or free, is a mat- 
ter of as utter indifference, as it is whether his 
neighbor shall plant his farm with tobacco, or 
stock it with horned cattle. Now, whether this 
view is right or wrong, it is very certain that 
the great mass of mankind take a totally dif- 
ferent view. They consider slavery a great 
moral wrong; and their feelings against it is 
not evanescent, but eternal. It lies at the very 
foundation of their sens* of justice; and it can- 
not be trifled with — It is a great and durable 
element of popular action, and, I think, no 
statesman can safely disregard it." 





OCTOBER 16, 1854 

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It occurs to me, as it probably has to the 
reader, that these sketches are a little "jerky." 

They are like Billy Stoughton's typewriter. 
Billy was a clerk in the office of Captain L. L. 
Troy, Superintendent Railway Mail Service at 
Chicago. He was an expert typewriter, who 
could talk and follow copy at the same time. 
He also stammered badly. His machine was 
of the old fashioned kind, and the writing was 
invisible. I was talking to him one day when 
he stopped and threw open the carriage to ex- 
amine the writing. The keys had caught and 
he found nothing but a lot of meaningless 
characters. His face clouded with a look of 
blank astonishment — then he broke into a sun- 
ny smile — looking up at me he said: "Bry-Bry- 
ner — bes-best typewriter in America — writes ex- 
ex-exactly like I-I I talk." 

I may go "far afield" to give a personal 
touch to these pages, but the fragrance of mem- 
ory's flowered fields give them a charm to me of 
which I hope the reader may catch a faint 

Colonel Clark E. Carr of Galesburg was our 
Minister to Denmark. I knew him well during 


the last years of his life, and he told me many- 
things about Lincoln. He was with him upon 
the train which took Mr. Lincoln to Gettys- 
burg, and he said that Lincoln whilst enroute 
made pencil notes upon the back of an envelope. 
It was this probably that gave rise to the story 
that his address was without previous prepara- 
tion. It is far more likely that he only jotted 
down the headings of his speech to aid his 
memory of a carefully prepared address. As 
I have before said, at the Peoria meeting the 
platform was erected upon the south side of the 
old Court House and entrance thereto was 
through a window of the office of the Circuit 
Clerk. I have a vivid recollection of Judge 
Douglas' appearance as he stepped upon the 
platform. Colonel Carr has thus described him 
which coincides perfectly with the picture I 
have in mind. "He was dressed in a black broad 
cloth suit of latest Washington cut; with im- 
maculate linen — his trim figure, though small, 
seemed perfect, as his lustrous eyes looked out 
from under his massive forehead, surrounded 
by heavy brown locks. Bold, defiant, confi- 
dent, he seemed the impersonation of strength 
and power." 



I doubt if anyone man aside from Lincoln 
contributed so much to the salvation of the 
Union as Judge Douglas. He virtually broke 
with his party and carried thousands of his 
followers with him. At the inauguration of 
Lincoln, he sat upon the platform and held Mr. 
Lincoln's hat, thus making public demonstra- 
tion of his support to the incoming adminis- 
tration. Exactly three months later he passed 
away in the city of Chicago, an irreparable loss 
to the Union cause. Edward Bonham was 
Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment in which 
I served in the Civil War. I was acquainted 
with his father, Jeriah Bonham, who wrote 
"Fifty Years Recollections." From this vol- 
ume, I make the following extract, as of inter- 
est in connection with Lincoln and Peoria: 

"There is not much in the early life of Abra- 
ham Lincoln to stir the imagination of the read- 
er. There is nothing to rouse up wonderful 
enthusiasm in the humble process of his edu- 
cation; his experiences of hardships; his early 
struggles with the rough forces of nature 
among which he was born. Indeed, we would 
be trespassing on the domain of history writ- 
ten by others if we attempted to give a brief 


history of his early life, which has been so well 
and ably written by others, among them the 
campaign biographies of Scripps, Raymond and 
Barrett, the writings of Ward H. Lamon, Esq., 
and Hon. Isaac N. Arnold; also, "Life of Abra- 
ham Lincoln," by J. G. Holland; Carpenter's 
"Reminiscences," and later, the "Life and Pub- 
lic Services of Abraham Lincoln," by J. Carroll 
Power. To the excellence of all these we bear 
cheerful testimony. 

"Our "Recollections" of Mr. Lincoln must 
be confined in the main, to our personal ac- 
quaintance with him, which commenced at the 
mass Whig State Convention, held at Peoria, 
in June, 1844. Mr. Lincoln was among the 
"big guns" in the grand array of eminent states- 
men and eloquent speakers present on that oc- 
casion; a galaxy of bright particular stars in 
the constellation of talent and patriotism, num- 
bering among them Gen. John J. Hardin, who 
afterwards fell at Buena Vista, Colonel Edward 
D. Baker, who gave up his life at Ball's Bluff 
during the Rebellion, John T. Stuart, Stephen 
T. Logan, Jesse K. Dubois, U. F. Linder, O. H. 
Browning, Joseph Gillespie, Archie Williams, 
Jackson Grimshaw, T. Lisle Smith, Martin P. 


Sweet, Ben. Bond, Richard Yates, T. Lyle Dick- 
ey, Lincoln B. Knowlton, D. W. Woodson, 
Wm. H. Henderson, and a host of others who 
came up to this grand council in the interests of 
Clay and Frelinghuysen, the Whig standard 
bearers in that memorable campaign. In addition 
to these there were present Caleb B. Smith, 
Henry S. Lane, and several other Indiana ora- 
tors, then and since known to fame, and from 
Missouri, there were the renowned and eloquent 
Dr. E. C. McDowell, Don Morrison, and many 

"Among all this brilliant array called to ad- 
dress the convention during the two days' ses- 
sions, none attracted greater and more marked 
attention than Mr. Lincoln. Dr. McDowell, 
Caleb B. Smith, Edward D. Baker and Gen. 
Hardin made their speeches before him. All 
made grand speeches and were loudly applauded. 
Gen. Hardin was then the member of Congress 
from this district, and Col. Baker the candidate 
for the succession. 

"It is among the brightest recollections of that 

day when Mr. Lincoln took the stand. He did 

not, on rising, show his full height, stood rather 

in a stooping posture, his long-tailed coat hang- 



ing loosely round his body, descending round 
and over an ill-fitting pair of pantaloons that 
covered his not very symmetrical legs. He com- 
menced his speech in a rather diffident manner, 
even seemed for a while at a loss for words, his 
voice was irregular, a little tremulous, as at first 
he began his argument by laying down his pro- 
positions. As he proceeded he seemed to gain 
more confidence, his body straightened up, his 
countenance brightened, his language became 
free and animated, as, during this time he had 
illustrated his argument by two or three well- 
told stories, that drew the attention of the 
thousands of his audience to every word he ut- 
tered. Then he became eloquent, carrying the 
swaying crowd at his will, who, at every point 
he made in his forcible argument, were tumultu- 
ous in their applause. His subject was the ex- 
position of the protective system — the tariff, — 
the method of raising a revenue by a system 
of duties levied on foreign importations, which 
at the same time would afford protection to 
American industries. Mr. Lincoln spoke a lit- 
tle over an hour. His arguments were un- 
answerable. This speech raised him to the 
proudest height to which he had ever before 


attained. He had greatly strengthened the Whig 
organization in the state and established his 
reputation as one of the most powerful political 
debaters in the country. 

"This speech showed to the people that he 
had thoroughly mastered all the great questions 
of the day, and brought to their discussion close- 
ness and soundness of logic, with numerous 
facts, clinched by the most elaborate and pow- 
erful arguments. This conclusion, it is among 
my recollections, we arrived at after enjoying 
this grand field day, hearing the most gifted of 
Illinois statesmen discuss all the great questions 
of the day, and we left with the thousand of 
others, for their homes, with the firm belief 
and conviction that Abraham Lincoln was the 
foremost statesman in Illinois, and would, at 
that time, have been willing to vote for him 
for any position from Congressman to Presi- 
dent of the United States, both of which priv- 
ileges were enjoyed in after years." 



From early childhood, when in the old 
Court House in Peoria, I used to sit upon his 
knee and he bought me big red apples from old 
man Cutler. Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, 
America's foremost orator, was throughout life 
my friend. I recall standing over the furnace 
register, shaking the black ostrich plume to put 
it in curl, which he wore upon his hat when 
he marched away as Colonel of the 11th Illi- 
nois Cavalry. As this is a Peoria story of Lin- 
coln, I shall here insert his splendid tribute to 
the martyred President. 

"ABRAHAM LINCOLN— strange ming- 
ling of mirth and tears, of the tragic and gro- 
tesque, of cap and crown, of Socrates and Dem- 
ocritus, of Aesop and Marcus Aurelius, of all 
that is gentle and just, humorous and honest, 
merciful, wise, laughable, lovable and divine, 
and all consecrated to the use of man; while 
through all, and over all, were an overwhelm- 
ing sense of obligation, of chivalric loyalty to 
truth, and upon all, the shadow of the tragic 

"Nearly all the great historic characters are 
impossible monsters, disproportioned by flat- 


As he appeared in 1861 when he departed from Peoria as 

Colonel of the 11th Illinois Cavalry. 


tery, or by calumny deformed. We know noth- 
ing of their peculiarities, or nothing but their 
peculiarities. About these oaks there clings 
none of the earth of humanity. 

"Washington is now only a steel engraving. 
About the real man who lived and loved and 
hated and schemed, we know but little. The 
glass through which we look at him is of such 
high magnifying power that the features are 
exceedingly indistinct. 

"Hundreds of people are now engaged in 
smoothing out the lines of Lincoln's face — 
forcing all features to the common mould — so 
that he may be known, not as he really was, 
but, according to their poor standard, as he 
should have been. 

"Lincoln was not a type. He stands alone — 
no ancestors, no fellows, and no successors. 

"He had the advantage of living in a new 
country, of social equality, of personal freedom, 
of seeing in the horizon of his future the per- 
petual star of hope. He preserved his individ- 
ualiy and his self-respect. He knew and 
mingled with men of every kind; and, after 
all, men are the best books. He became ac- 


quainted with the ambitions and hopes of the 
heart, the means used to accomplish ends, the 
springs of action and the seeds of thought. He 
was familiar with nature, with actual things, 
with common facts. He loved and appreciated 
the poem of the year, the drama of the seasons. 

"In a new country a man must possess at 
least three virtues — honesty, courage and gener- 
osity. In cultivated society, cultivation is often 
more important than soil. A well executed 
counterfeit passes more readily than a blurred 
genuine. It is necessary only to observe the 
unwritten laws of society — to be honest enough 
to keep out of prison, and generous enough to 
subscribe in public — where the subscription can 
be defended as an investment. 

"In a new country, character is essential; in 
the old, reputation is sufficient. In the new, 
they find what a man really is; in the old, he 
generally passes for what he resembles. Peo- 
ple separated only by distance are much nearer 
together, than those divided by the walls of 

"It is no advantage to live in a great city, 
where poverty degrades and failure brings 
despair. The fields are lovelier than paved 


streets, and the great forests than walls of brick. 
Oaks and elms are more poetic than steeples 
and chimneys. 

"In the country is the idea of home. There 
you see the rising and setting sun; you become 
acquainted with the stars and clouds. The 
constellations are your friends. You hear the 
rain on the roof and listen to the rhythmic 
sighing of the winds. You are thrilled by the 
resurrection called Spring, touched and sadden- 
ed by Autumn — the grace and poetry of death. 
Every field is a picture, a landscape; every land- 
scape a poem ; every flower a tender thought, 
and every forest a fairy-land. In the country 
you preserve your identity — your personality. 
There you are an aggregation of atoms, but in 
the city you are only an atom of an aggregation. 

"In the country you keep your cheek close to 
the breast of Nature. You are calmed and en- 
nobled by the space, the amplitude and scope of 
earth and sky — by the constancy of the stars. 

"Lincoln never finished his education. To the 
night of his death he was a pupil, a learner, an 
inquirer, a seeker after knowledge. You have 
no idea how many men arc spoiled by what is 
called education. For the most part, colleges 


are places where pebbles are polished and dia- 
monds are dimmed. If Shakespeare had grad- 
uated at Oxford, he might have been a quibbling 
attorney, or a hypocritical parson. 

"Lincoln was a great lawyer. There is noth- 
ing shrewder in this world than intelligent hon- 
esty. Perfect candor is sword and shield. 

"He understood the nature of man. As a 
lawyer he endeavored to get at the truth, at the 
very heart of a case. He was not willing even 
to deceive himself. No matter what his inter- 
est said, what his passion demanded, he was 
great enough to find the truth and strong 
enough to pronounce judgment against his own 

"Lincoln was a many-sided man, acquainted 
with smiles and tears, complex in brain, single 
in heart, direct as light; and his words, candid 
as mirrors, gave the perfect image of his 
thought. He was never afraid to ask — never 
too dignified to admit that he did not know. 
No man had keener wit, or kinder humor. 

"It may be that humor is the pilot of reason, 
People without humor drift unconsciously into 
absurdity. Humor sees the other side — stands 


in the mind like a spectator, a good-natured 
critic, and gives its opinion before judgment 
is reached. Humor goes with good nature, and 
good nature is the climate of reason. In anger, 
reason abdicates and malice extinguishes the 
torch. Such was the humor of Lincoln that he 
could tell even unpleasant truths as charming- 
ly as most men can tell the things we wish to 

"He was not solemn. Solemnity is a mask 
worn by ignorance and hypocrisy — it is the 
preface, prologue, and index to the cunning or 
the stupid. 

"He was natural in his life and thought 

master of the story-teller's art, in illustration 
apt, in application perfect, liberal in speech, 
shocking Pharisees and prudes, using any word 
that wit could disinfect. 

"He was a logician. His logic shed light. In 
its presence the obscure became luminous, and 
the most complex and intricate political and 
metaphysical knots seemed to untie themselves. 
Logic is the necessary product of intelligence 
and sincerity. It cannot be learned. It is the 
child of a clear head and a good heart. 


"Lincoln was candid, and with candor often 
deceived the deceitful. He had intellect with- 
out arrogance, genius without pride, and reli- 
gion without cant — that is to say, without 
bigotry and without deceit. 

"He was an orator — clear, sincere, natural. 
He did not pretend. He did not say what he 
thought others thought, but what he thought. 

"If you wish to be sublime you must be nat- 
ural — you must keep close to the grass. You 
must sit by the fireside of the heart; above the 
clouds it is too cold. You must be simple in 
your speech; too much polish suggests insincer- 

"The great orator idealizes the real, trans- 
figures the common, makes even the inanimate 
throb and thrill, fills the gallery of the imagi- 
nation with statues and pictures perfect in form 
and color, brings to light the gold hoarded by 
memory the miser, shows the glittering coin 
to the spendthrift hope, enriches the brain, en- 
nobles the heart, and quickens the conscience. 
Between his lips words bud and blossom. 

"If you wish to know the difference between 
an orator and an elocutionist — between what 


is felt and what is said — between what the heart 
and brain can do together and what the brain 
can do alone — read Lincoln's wondrous speech 
at Gettysburg, and then the oration of Edward 

"The speech of Lincoln will never be forgot- 
ten. It will live until languages are dead and 
lips are dust. The oration of Everett will 
never be read. 

"The elocutionists believe in the virtue of 
voice, the sublimity of syntax, the majesty of 
long sentences, and the genius of gesture. 

"The orator loves the real, the simple, the 
natural. He places the thought above all. He 
knows that the greatest ideas should be ex- 
pressed in the shortest words — that the greatest 
statues need the least drapery. 

"Lincoln was an immense personality — firm 
but not obstinate. Obstinacy is egotism — 
firmness, heroism. He influenced others with- 
out effort, unconsciously; and they submitted 
to him as men submit to nature — unconscious- 
ly. He was severe with himself, and for that 
reason lenient with others. 


"He appeared to apologize for being kinder 
than his fellows. 

"He did merciful things as stealthily as others 
committed crimes. 

"Almost ashamed of tenderness, he said and 
did the noblest words and deeds with the*charm- 
ing confusion, that awkardness, that is the per- 
fect grace of modesty. 

"As a noble man, wishing to pay a small 
debt to a poor neighbor, reluctantly offers a 
hundred-dollar bill and asks for change, fearing 
that he may be suspected either of making a 
display of wealth or a pretense of payment, so 
Lincoln hestitated to show his wealth of good- 
ness, even to the best he knew. 

"A great man stooping, not wishing to make 
his fellows feel that they were small or mean. 

"By his candor, by his kindness, by his per- 
fect freedom from restraint, by saying what he 
thought, and saying it absolutely in his own 
way, he made it not only possible, but popular, 
to be natural. He was the enemy of mock 
solemnity, of the stupidly respectable, of the 
cold and formal. 



"He wore no official robes either on his body 
or his soul. He never pretended to be more or 
less, or other, or different, from what he really 

"He had the unconscious naturalness of Na- 
ture's self. 

"He built upon the rock. The foundation 
was secure and broad. The structure was a 
pyramid, narrowing as it rose. Through days 
and nights of sorrow, through years of grief 
and pain, with unswerving purpose, 'with 
malice towards none, with charity for all,' with 
infinite patience, with unclouded vision, he 
hoped and toiled. Stone after stone was laid 
until at last the Proclamation found its place. 
On that the Goddess stands. 

"He knew others, because perfectly acquainted 
with himself. He cared nothing for place, but 
everything for principle; a little for money, but 
everything for independence. Where no prin- 
ciple was involved, easily swayed — willing to 
go slowly, if in the right direction — sometimes 
willing to stop; but he would not go back, and 
he would not go wrong. 

"He was willing to wait. He knew that the 
event was not waiting, and that fate was not the 


fool of chance. He knew that slavery had de- 
fenders, but no defense, and that they who at- 
tack the right must wound themselves. 

"He was neither tyrant nor slave. He neither 
knelt nor scorned. 

"With him, men were neither great nor small 
— they were right or wrong. 

"Through manners, clothes, titles, rags and 
race he saw the real — that which is. Beyond 
accident, policy, compromise and war he saw 
the end. 

"He was patient as Destiny; whose undeciph- 
erable hieroglyphs were so deeply graven on his 
sad and tragic face. 

"Nothing discloses real character like the use 
of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. 
Most people can bear adversity. But if you 
wish to know what a man really is, give him 
power. This is the supreme test. It is the glory 
of Lincoln that, having almost absolute power, 
he never abused it, except on the side of mercy. 

"Wealth could not purchase, power could not 
awe, this divine, this loving man. 

"He knew no fear except the fear of doing 
wrong. Hating slavery, pitying the master — 


seeking to conquer, not persons, but prejudices 
— he was the embodiment of the self-denial, the 
courage, the hope and the nobility of a Nation. 

"He spoke not to inflame, not to upbraid, 
but to convince. 

"He raised his hands, not to strike, but in 

"He longed to pardon. 

"He loved to see the pearls of joy on the 
cheeks of a wife whose husband he had rescued 
from death. 

"Lincoln was the grandest figure of the fiercest 
civil war. He is the gentlest memory of our 


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